My Story – Becoming A Neonatal Nurse

Debra Riley


All scholarship award applications had to supply an essay about their journey. This is one from a registered nurse training to become a neonatal nurse.

“As a Registered Nurse in a level three Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), my passion for learning is fiercely driven and fostered by the unique challenges and responsibilities that come with caring for neonates. I see myself as a life-long learner, one who considers levels of education as stepping stones to personal and professional development rather than finalized achievements.



Even while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, I aspired to obtain a graduate level degree in the future, a goal I am determined and equipped to now pursue. I am confident that as I begin my University’s Post-Baccalaureate D.N.P Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program this fall, I will accomplish that and much more.

This program will further develop my knowledge and skills in direct patient care while opening doors to provide evidence-based, quality health services both collaboratively and independently as a clinician.

Always knowing I want to specialize in pediatrics, I pursued my dream of starting my nursing career in the NICU after earning my bachelor’s degree in Nursing at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Practicing as a registered nurse in the NICU has helped me discover a passion for providing care and education to the family as a whole, while acting as an advocate for them and their child.


While dedicating myself to family-centered care, I have also gained clinical skills that help me carry out quality patient services as a nurse. For example, in the fast paced environment of the NICU, critical thinking is paramount to providing excellent patient care.

In order to put my critical thinking skills into action, I constantly rely on efficient time management, quick and thorough problem solving, and effective communication with doctors,therapists, family members, and other healthcare professionals.

In addition, while working with families of varying backgrounds and cultures, I have developed exceptional cultural competency that can help me provide high quality family-centered care to a diverse population of patients as a pediatric nurse practitioner down the road. Together with this skill set and clinical experience,my strong work ethic and leadership abilities will allow me to thrive at University.


The health sector is an especially important and dynamic environment for continuing education as new treatments, diseases, equipment, and evidence-based practices are constantly discovered. Therefore, I aspire to begin this doctorate program to advance my knowledge and develop skills for best practice for the pediatric population as healthcare evolves. I subscribe to several nursing magazines and journals to help keep up to date.

Becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner will allow me to care for children in a setting where I am able to follow their health over a longer span of time.

Did you have a look at the 10 Best Paid Nursing Careers – we cover them in an article here!

Looking Ahead

I look forward to being able to provide quality holistic care and education to not only children as they grow, but to their families as well. I aspire to incorporate my nursing experience in neonatal intensive care to a future position in a clinic or practice that performs well check visits and follow-up appointments for infants that are NICU graduates.

I am excited for the doctoral level education and training I will receive at University will further develop my knowledge and equip me with the right tools to make my professional goal of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner a reality.

I am incredibly excited about the program and all of the opportunities it would bring, especially the chance to learn from professors, classmates, colleagues, and preceptors that share my passion for continuing education and family-centered care within the pediatric population.”

Great story and good luck with the career progress! That’s something we have been covering here at Nurse Salary Guide – career progression. One specialty that has become very popular is the nurse anesthetist or CRNA. Have a look at our CRNA Salaries page to see how their earnings compare – I know you’ll be impressed.

A CRNA is an advanced practice nurse with very specific education and training to help you find out more take a look at our CRNA Schools and Programs page – it covers all states and gives details of schools available as well as any requirements. If you think working in another country might be something to consider see my article about nurse salaries in Australia vs the U.S.A.

Before you go … have a look around our blog section we have a real mix of subjects there. From the highest paid nursing careers to Nursing Quotes and the best places to study – something for everyone I hope!